It’s YC Demo Day week, and we’re nostalgic for the conversations the Discovery hosts have with entrepreneurs who’ve used the popular accelerator program. In each episode of Found, hosts Darrell Etherington and Jordan Crook dig into the founder’s background, the peaks and troughs of starting and running a company, and the relationships and mentors who helped along the way. Surprisingly, when a YC founder arrives, the conversation often touches on how their time at the accelerator was a formative experience for their company and for them as leaders. So, if you’ve ever wanted to hear YC founders unpack their three months, best lessons and common practices, tune in.
Here are some of our favorite conversations with these entrepreneurs, in no particular order. Have fun!
1. Hana Mohan from Magic Bell
In this episode, Darrell and Jordan talk to the co-founder and CEO of MagicBell, a startup tackling the monumental task of solving notifications for other software products. They enter Hana’s path to entrepreneurship, labeled as a ‘high-maintenance employee’, participating in Y Combinator and transforming her experience in the startup world.
We recently caught up with Hana to see how MagicBell is growing. Watch that episode here.
2. Elizabeth Ruzo from Adin
We’re in the business of talking to a lot of impressive people who are working to solve incredibly tough problems — but Edin founder and CEO Elizabeth Ruzzo might be one of the most impressive entrepreneurs we’ve ever spoken to. Not only did she develop a unique test for women to ensure they were prescribed the contraceptive with the lowest probability of having harmful side effects, she also founded the company and raised funds as the company’s sole employee. She spoke with Darrell and Jordan about the challenges she faced as a solo founder/employee raising money for a solution for birth control, why she decided to leave academia, and the complex regulatory maze she had to navigate to get Adin off the ground.
3. Vivian Wang from Landed
In this episode, Landed founder and CEO Vivian Wong comes to talk about her mission to connect blue-collar workers with high-quality job opportunities. Landed streamlines the hiring process from recruiting to vetting to setting up interviews and a feedback loop for general managers to make their workplaces more desirable. They are also improving the financial well-being of employees by helping them excel once they are employed. Darrell, Jordan and Vivian spoke about how Covid showed us how needed blue-collar workers are and how underserved those workers are, and how she plans to improve the experience in these jobs by helping them get paid faster, increase credit and reduce turnover. .
4. Laura Crabtree from Epsilon3
Space Enterprise founder, Laura Crabtree, talks with Darrell and Jordan about starting Epsilon3 and how they’re helping companies in the space industry (and beyond) plan, track and record their big projects and missions. They discuss their growing market fit, building relationships with your investors, and the benefits of having three founders.
5. Yusuf Sherwani from Quit Genius
Yusuf Sherwani is CEO and one of three doctor/co-founders of Quit Genius, an app that helps patients overcome addiction issues using CBT therapy and other proven methods. He talks to Darrell and Jordan about starting a telehealth company before Covid and the regulatory hurdles they had to navigate and how they convinced investors that being research-led was critical when building a patient-focused product.
6. Caroline Mooney from Nextmv
Carolyn Mooney is the co-founder and CEO of Nextmv, which helps companies make efficient decisions on a massive scale — think Amazon distributing packaging or Uber planning a route for the Uber pool. In this episode, she talks to Darrell and Jordan about NextMV software, which not only optimizes decision-making and route planning, but also enables engineers to work in a variety of teams. Additionally, they discuss how coaching high school volleyball made her a better leader and forced her to prioritize work-life balance.
7. Lee Honeywell from Tall Poppies
Lee Honeywell has spent his career trying to prevent bad things from happening to people on the Internet. She has spent time at Slack, Heroku and Microsoft and is well-versed in both the technical and human sides of online harassment and has seen firsthand how it escalates into hacking or worse. She came up with Tall Poppy, a platform that helps organizations with a public-facing workforce, such as media orgs, actively prevent this kind of growth. The Tall Poppy model transforms an unscalable business into a fast-growing startup.
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